The Mindy Project 3-Week Recap

Hi all! It’s been a whirlwind past three weeks, and I’ll also admit I was a little afraid to catch back up for fear of disappointment – I mean, I’m REALLY pulling for The Mindy Project to show us that it deserves a second season and more. I was very happy to get back into it. Let’s review the last three weeks, now that we’re about to enter a new ep hiatus before the season ends.

My Cool Christian Boyfriend

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This episode is actually quite perfectly written, with the right escalation of action and everything tying into the larger theme of the episode, instead of having odd B and C story arcs that aren’t quite related to the main thread. Mindy explores the idea of selflessness and what being a good person means when she finds herself on a date with a pastor, who ultimately rejects her for not seeming selfless. We know, in fact, that Mindy is kind of a shallow, selfish person. But she makes it fun for herself (and us) and usually owns it. However, in this episode, Mindy puts herself to the test not just in light of Pastor Casey’s criticism, but for the pursuit of romance. We get some fantastic moments and some wacky scenes that actually build up and make sense with the ultimate theme of the episode, all of which show the true spirit of what I think The Mindy Project wants to be.

The episode starts great with a real New York moment – again, one of my small peeves about the show is how totally un-New York it usually seems. They really got the subway platform look down and the pains of the morning commute. Mindy meets Pastor Casey (without realizing he’s a pastor at this point) when he doesn’t let her off the subway as he strolls in with a handtruck full of baby strollers for Haiti. She makes a scene with him (for all you New Yorkers, you totally know the type, and maybe have been there too, where you let it all hang out about subway politics) and he of course makes himself sound endearing, going toe to toe with her on the criticisms. The twist? He slyly asks for her number to go on a date. Of course, she is stopped again from leaving the train because of a subway band slowly strolling in with large instruments she can’t walk past.

On their date, she finds out he is a pastor, and is put off by not knowing what that entails. Once again, the writers brilliantly set up the Mindy-Danny tension by having Mindy enlist Danny as her escort to one of Pastor Casey’s services. Here, another surprise fact about Danny is revealed as he discusses his devout Catholicism. Anyway, we are treated to a ridiculous but fun parody of the modern Christian service, chock full of details like Moby DJ-ing the service to Pastor Casey singing Bruno Mars to make a point. Of course, of all the things Pastor Casey says in his service (excellent montage of him in his charismatic sermon) this is the one that fires up her libido. She tries to seduce him after the service, when he reveals to her he doesn’t think she has the level of selflessness he naturally has as a pastor.

Lucky for her, the office is planning a volunteer trip to a women’s prison to offer their gynecological services to the prisoners. Mindy hops on the trip last minute to prove to herself that she is a “good person.” What starts as scary for Mindy softens up when her one prisoner patient turns out (at first) to be nice and just wants to get a recap on The Real Housewives. Mindy, in turn, decides to be giving to the prisoner in a rather shallow way by literally giving her presents – a candy bar and a pashmina. Mindy at first feels proud of her work, but it immediately backfires as the discovery of her gifts launches a full prison riot, complete with a creepy inmate chopping off Mindy’s hair. We get another tender moment between Danny and Mindy: as he helps mend her wounds, she is ready to cry in front of him, and he actually assures her she did good for someone. This actually felt very Clueless-esque, with Mindy being our Cher Horowitz. We end with Mindy proudly re-announcing who she is in a run-in with Pastor Casey. She of course gets the secret texts to go on a second date, but she at least feels better about her capability to do good.

Within all of that action were some wonderful memorable lines and really great character details for everyone. I actually wasn’t annoyed with Betsy and liked that she acknowledged that she enjoys stepping out of her mousey self to be a strong, defensive woman. But to sum the ep up, favorite lines:

(Mindy after emerging from her bedroom in her “church” outfit) “Haven’t you ever seen a Tyler Perry movie?”

(Mindy to Pastor Casey as she excuses Danny) “His wife left him.” (Pastor Casey) “God is with him.” (dramatic pause)

(Morgan in the car after the prison riot) “When it comes to prisons, I am the gynecologist! You’re the nurses!”

(Richi to Pastor Casey about Mindy’s run in with female inmates) “No one’s gonna date her now. She looks like Manny Pacquiao!”

Pretty Man

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Again, another really fun episode that somehow brilliantly ties the two storylines of Danny’s party and Mindy’s bout with a prostitute. Both stories connect the idea of sharing and hiding things from people, as well as tons of jealousy threads.

We start with Mindy, in her cold open narration about the pains of being single in NY, especially when your friends are otherwise taken. Since Alex, who she introduced to Danny, doesn’t want to go out with her, Mindy sits in a posh bar alone and gets hit on by a strikingly handsome man. As they’re about to seal the deal, she discovers he is actually a male prostitute.

At work the next day, she comes in with sunglasses over her eyes, like she has to be incognito for something no one else actually witnessed. Great jokes here from Morgan about “paying for it” and it makes her awkward. Mindy tries to pass off theater tickets to Danny, but he declines saying he is going out of town for the weekend with Alex. We get another wonderful run in with Brendan, the holistic doctor, where the sexual tension is so thick! As Brendan tries to wiggle his way into a date with Mindy, Mindy passes off the tickets to Morgan to save face.

Mindy then discovers from her friends Alex and Maggie (the hilarious wheelchair girl) that Danny is actually having a dinner party and her friends did not invite Mindy. In an angry, jealous rage, Mindy announces to the office that Danny is having a dinner party. The start of the Danny-Mindy tension comes in here when she confronts him about not inviting her – he reveals his judgments about the men Mindy picks (surprised we get away with Danny saying “dicks” on FOX!), and reveals some hidden jealousy, if not resentment, over knowing that Mindy hooked up with Brendan. (Flashback to the birthday ep!)

In a fun parody of Pretty Woman (again- rom-com call-outs from the show), Mindy is confronted by Adam, the prostitute, for not paying for their incomplete date, She discovers he lives in skid row and decides to “pretty woman” him by dressing him up and showing him off at Danny’s party. We see Danny’s quirks come out as he gets really anal about controlling the situation in the party, getting annoyed by Morgan chucking chicken wings to people and from Mindy inviting herself to a house tour. The party is where all the jealousy threads come to a head – Jeremy at first tries to off-put Maggie from attempting to hook up with him, and he winds up jealously looking over his shoulder at Maggie and her date. Adam, who reveals he is an aspiring singing songwriter, shows off his piano skills and we see Danny initially jealous of how cool Adam has shown himself to be. And of course, the Danny jealousy of Brendan and Mindy comes to a head in a very tender moment between them in Danny’s shower (immediately thought of the throwback to Mindy in Brendan’s shower!) We see Mindy apologize for hiding this from Danny, who in turn is revealed to be hiding his former marriage from Alex. As this revelation comes to a head, Adam outs himself as a prostitute, unveiling Mindy’s secret yet brief affiliation with him. We end on actually a kind of somber note, with Danny and Mindy getting in a tiff and him ending it saying he didn’t ask Mindy to be his friend. He gets distracted by more party destruction, and Mindy leaves.

This episode had some great developments and, in spite of everyone’s hiding, reveals a lot of subtle feelings and connections with the characters. And now, favorite moments:

(Betsy to Mindy when Adam comes to the office) “There’s a man here to see you. He’s handsome, like my Uncle Brendan at Easter”

(Danny in regards to the chicken wings) “Chicken wings are like the messiest food on the planet.” (Morgan to Danny) “Alright, Monica from Friends!”

(Danny about Adam) “No man’s hot. Paul Newman was handsome but that’s it.”

(Adam singing) “What city am I talking about?” (Danny) “New York.” (Adam singing) “What city am I talking about?” (Morgan, confused) “You’re actually talking about a lot of different cities.” (Adam singing) “What city am I talking about?” (Jeremy) “Dallas?” (Sidenote: love how Adam is a talented singer and musician, but a terrible songwriter!)

(Morgan doing a Danny impression to Mindy) “There’s only two flavors for coffee – cream and sugar!”

Santa Fe

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In this episode, we get some good throwbacks to earlier developments in the season, what with Jeremy and Morgan’s budding friendship and Mindy’s former relationship with Josh. The two stories are tied together in a gynecological conference in Santa Fe, where everyone confronts feelings they’ve openly ignored or simply overlooked.

First, Mindy gets a surprise call from Josh right before leaving on the trip to Santa Fe – Josh wisely guised himself as Lady Gaga to get her on the phone. He asks to see her, knowing she was going on the trip at all because he follows her Twitter. (Great joke from Mindy here: “My Twitter is for my friends, my patients, and for Wendy’s to give me a shout out on my birthday!”) Mindy first confides in Pastor Casey, who she is still dating at this point (more on this in a bit) about whether or not she should see Josh. Pastor Casey, in his Christian wisdom, suggests she visits Josh to let him apologize and get some closure. Mindy then confides in Danny during the trip, where he immediately says it’s not a good idea.

Meanwhile, Morgan and Jeremy are preparing for the practice’s presentation of Jeremy’s “Reed Method.” The presentation goes smoothly, with Morgan and Jeremy perfectly in sync, and Morgan wonderfully revealing more about his prison theater exploits running the boards for their production of West Side Story (“We actually used rival gangs. Never opened, 6 dead.”) As soon as they reach the conference, however, Jeremy is on edge about Morgan’s natural quirks. Feeling embarrassed by him as he barges in on brunch, Jeremy tries to brush him off. Morgan reacts in his sensitive-angry way, and gives Jeremy the cold shoulder after a final embarrassment. (“Every day at 1 I have screaming diarrhea” – amazing!)

Mindy tries to sneak off to see Josh but Danny won’t let her. He justifies driving her to see Josh with the fact that his name is attached to the rental car (“That line was highlighted!”) and Mindy is in for a surprise when Danny pulls up to a rehab center. When Mindy confronts Josh, he reveals that he was a coke addict while dating her, and that the addiction also spiraled him into his four-girlfriend cheating stint. She gets the anger out of her by lashing out at him for doing that at all, while Danny tries to consult with the other patients, ultimately riling them up instead for their non-traditional addictions. As they prepare to leave, Josh’s last words to Mindy leave an impression – he says it was easy to cheat on her because she ignored the clear signs, which immediately segues into him mistaking Danny for her boyfriend, of course now revealing the signs of their chemistry Mindy had formerly ignored.

In tandem with this rom-com realization is Jeremy and Morgan’s forgiveness, which also shows Jeremy ignoring Morgan’s signs of genuine friendship. After Morgan storms out from rehearsing the presentation, Jeremy rummages through Morgan’s dufflebag and discovers a gift to him. Jeremy joins Morgan in a sweat lodge and reveals that he knows he should be more sensitive about Morgan because he himself is the “black sheep” of his own family, going to med school in America and not England. They bro it out, only to overdo it in the sweat lodge and hilariously mess up their presentation, with Jeremy chugging pitchers of water and Morgan going into a hallucination thinking a picture of ovaries is a bull.

As the last moments occurred, I wondered why this episode aired out of order – I mean, we go from Pastor Casey to Adam the prostitute and back to Pastor Casey – but then the way this episode works well with just the overall development of Mindy-Danny. After their fight last week, the more audience-pleasing resolution would be their recognition of their chemistry – as friends, colleagues, and likely more. Mindy and Danny hold hands as the plane hits some turbulence, and Danny clutches on for just a touch longer. Back at the office, as they both smile about enjoying the trip, we tie in the confrontation of exes with Danny’s ex-wife coming to visit him – surprise (and totally a sweeps-stunt) cameo from Chloe Sevigny!

Obviously, the rom-com trope is the big thing for this episode, and considering we won’t get another new episode for weeks, this slightly-out-of-order airing leaves us with a pretty good cliffhanger for the Mindy-Danny will-they-or-won’t-they arc. And now, the MANY memorable lines of this ep (I actually think this was the zingiest of the last three):

(Casey about Mindy’s hypothetical murder fantasy) “What is this – I Know What You Did Last Summer?”

(Mindy) “Are you talking to God behind my back?” (Casey) “Nuh-uh, I’m sleeping”

(Danny about Mindy’s luggage) “Have you seen Up in the Air? Have you seen it 5 times?”

(Danny, after Jeremy and Morgan make fun of him) “I heard my name. Was that a sweating joke?”

(Danny, as Mindy asks for advice) “Come on, things are going great with Jesus Christ Superstar”

(Danny) “You can’t drive, you had a mimosa for breakfast.” (Mindy) “You know I spilled most of my mimosa when I was reaching for waffles.”

(Mindy, after the Packers player introduces himself) “Packers. Is that like a party drug?”

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